Getting A Wheelchair For Less—Or Free

The price of manual, electric, and sports wheelchairs can vary dramatically. Some low-tech manual wheelchairs can cost as little as a hundred dollars or so. On the other hand, high-tech models can climb to the tens of thousands. The type of wheelchair you need, or want, and the amount of the cost your insurance company agrees to cover will largely determine how much money you will need to shell out.

If you don’t have the cash or insurance coverage required, there are options worth considering. You might purchase a used device, or contact an organization that provides free or inexpensive new or used wheelchairs. Many such groups provide help in local and regional areas, and the following organizations offer assistance on a national level:

Challenged Athletes Foundation

Chariots of Hope

Direct Relief International

The Kids Equipment Network

Kids Mobility Network

Orphaned Wheelchairs and The Wheelchair Foundation

Outdoor Ability Foundation

Wheelchair of Hope Foundation

Tips for Reducing Your Healthcare Expenses

Excessive medical expenses can put a damper on anyone’s lifestyle. When you’re struggling to pay bills, it’s hard to stop worrying and just have fun. Here are a few ways to reduce your healthcare costs:

Question your doctors about the tests and treatments they order and ask them about alternatives.

Sometimes doctors order expensive tests and treatments, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans, when there are less expensive ways to acquire the same information or results. Before agreeing to expensive tests or treatments, make sure that they are necessary.

Even if a test or treatment is necessary, unless you are experiencing an emergency, compare costs at different facilities.

The cost of many tests and treatments can vary within the same city. If you choose a facility other than the one your doctor refers you to, be sure that it is covered by the insurance you plan to use.

Discuss your medication prescriptions, their cost, and whether they are covered by your insurance with your doctor.

Data from the recent University of Michigan (U-M) National Poll on Healthy Aging showed that nearly a third of people between the ages of 50 and 80 said their prescription drug costs posed a financial burden, but about half of those people hadn’t talked to their doctors about the cost of the drugs. When patients talked to their doctors, 67 percent received a recommendation for a less expensive drug, and 37 percent got similar recommendations from pharmacists.

Check on the cost of your medication before filling your prescription to explore options.

Before filling a prescription, ask the pharmacist if your insurance will cover it and how much it will cost. If the medication is not covered adequately by insurance and is expensive, either check with your doctor’s office to see if there is an alternate medicine that your insurance will cover, or visit sites such as and to see if you can get the medicine for a lower price through them. Sometimes, they can get you a price even lower than your insurance copay.

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